For a series that’s run for ten episodes thus far, it’s pretty discouraging that Jormungand’s elements are only now starting to come together into an enjoyable whole. But maybe I’m just looking back at the rest of it with less of a rosy tint after this episode blew everything else away, both figuratively and literally.
When taking into account just how much the show has progressed, it’s like making the jump from the pretentious, inane scribbles of an albino/gun fetishist, to writing an action script as lovingly-written and appropriately dramatic as the second season of Black Lagoon; considering my love for Black Lagoon’s Greenback Jane arc, that’s saying a hell of a lot in Jormungand’s favor. Even so, as it’s always been, there are still a few niggling flaws to pick at, and it wouldn’t befit me to go a post without picking at the few weeping scabs on Jormungand’s otherwise pristine skin.
The biggest problem that the show has is that Koko has had to carry the weight every single role that’s thrown at her, regardless of just how fitting it is. So one minute you have her watching her men gun down rogue militiamen with an impish smirk on her face, and the next she assumes the part of a warrior poet in order to bemoan the evils of killing in a roundabout fashion. It all adds up to a somewhat inconsistent personality trait, tacked on because no other character has been given enough focus to bear the responsibility of doling out pearls of wisdom without coming across as a living fortune cookie.
Most episodes at least make an effort to make the moral of the week clumsily fit what trouble Koko’s crew run into, but this one was on such an adrenaline kick that Koko taking a few minutes to set Jonah aside in order to lecture him about how people become metaphorical dragons when they kill too much seemed even more hypocritical and horribly timed than usual. It’s not like she’s done it before, when he’s gunned down armed men and has even come dangerously close to killing another child soldier, so the fact that she chose the moment before he would have killed the head honcho of the Balkan Dragons and ended most of their problems made it even more ridiculous. It’s pretty disingenuous having Koko just now raise objections to Jonah being a killing machine, is the point that I’m trying to get across.
Without a doubt, Jormungand’s a smart show that usually succeeds at what it does; it’s just not all that deep when it does so, no matter how much it tries to convince the audience that it is. For all the weight that she has to pull in order to make everything function, Koko does a surprisingly good job at it, even if she can’t do it all; she’s the spirit of the show, perfectly encapsulating both its strengths and its weaknesses. It’s unfortunate that she tries to breathe life into the show’s nonexistent philosophical potential, otherwise it would be damn near perfect instead of just good with irritating hints of pretentiousness.
Even taking these problems as they are, they at least make Jormungand endearing for it. I may criticize it a shit ton, but I don’t want it to change. Shine on Koko, you loco star.